Most schemes are competitive – even if you submit a perfect application there is no guarantee of an offer of funding. To boost your chances of success, here are some top tips:

  1. Plan ahead

Grants generally have to be agreed before you can commit to ordering or spending any money and the process can often take months.

See also: How to write a business plan

  1. Don’t undersell yourself

Even the smallest of projects can have a wide range of benefits and a big impact so when it comes to putting the application together, think outside the box and be creative.

  1. Make sure you know your project inside out

Read all the grant guidance and make sure that what you’re applying for meets the criteria and priorities of the grant. If it doesn’t, can it be reworded or redesigned so that it does fit the priorities?

  1. Be realistic

Don’t say you’ll achieve enormous outputs if there’s no chance that you will. Most grant recipients have at least one visit or audit after they’ve received the grant funding to check that you’re doing what you said you would.

  1. Communication is key

Be really clear on what you’re trying to achieve or what problem you are trying to address. How much extra money will it make you? Or how much will you save as a result? Make the application as easy to read and follow as possible. The person assessing it at the other end will appreciate that and it might just give you the edge.

  1. Plan for how to manage your cash flow

Grants are usually paid back to you once you’ve spent the money in full, so planning your cash flow is important to ensure you have the available funds.

See also: What's the importance of a cash flow forecast

  1. Act quickly

Grant application windows are often short and there will be a limited pot of money available so if you can, get in early.

  1. Be proactive

There’s nothing worse than hearing about some else who’s got grant funding for a project or item that you would like. If you keep a close ear to the ground for what opportunities are out there and are prepared to invest your time (and money if you employ someone to help you with it), then you could be eligible for substantial amounts of money.

  1. Don’t expect it to be easy

Grant applications usually want to know everything so don’t think it’s going to be an easy five-minute job to put together. Allow plenty of time.

  1. Ask for help

Speak to the scheme manager regularly and get their advice. If you can afford it, consider if it might be worth investing in getting professional help. Even if not to complete the whole thing but someone might be happy to spend a few hours reading it through and giving you feedback. At the very least make sure you get someone else to read your application before you submit it, even if just to check for basic errors like spelling mistakes.

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